Joey Chestnut has looked over his shoulder recently; Matt Stonie had inched closer each of the last two years at Coney Island, finishing second behind the mega wiener eater both times.
This year, Stonie would not be denied the coveted Mustard Belt.
Eight-time defending champion Chestnut was defeated by Stonie on Saturday, July 4 at the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held outside the flagship eatery in Coney Island.
The two men from San Jose finished neck-and-neck at the famously nauseating Coney Island competition. Stonie (second in Major League Eating rankings) consumed 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, compared to Chestnut’s 60 (in first place in MLE rankings), to win the $10,000 prize and the championship belt.
Tim Janus, the third place MLE eater, who downed 35 hot dogs, was a distant third on the Fourth of July.
“My number is pretty bad. It’s not even close to what I normally do. I just wasn’t fast. I think I was really rusty; I haven’t competed as much,” said Janus, who reported that the hot dog eating contest was only his second competition in the past eight months.
The women’s contest took place about an hour before the men’s. Miki Sudo (MLE number 4) ate 38 hot dogs in 10 minutes to triumph over Sonya Thomas (MLE number 5), who devoured 31 franks, winning the belt and the $10,000 prize for the second straight year.
Last year, Sudo inhaled 34 hot dogs to Thomas’ 27.75.
The 23-year-old Stonie, who promised to defeat Chestnut before they tucked in, had beat the defending champion multiple times in 2015 in contests that featured Twinkies, poutine, pumpkin pie and gyros.
According to Janus, the cooler conditions not only made it difficult for him to get on a roll, but also contributed to neither Stonie nor the 31-year-old Chestnut breaking the world record.
“The cold just cools down the hot dogs faster,” he said. “The meat tightens up. You can’t bite as quickly.”
Chestnut set the world record in 2013 when he gobbled up 69 hot dogs, completely outpacing the second-place Stonie who scoffed down 51 franks. Janus placed third with 50 that year.
In last year’s battle, Stonie finished with 56 hot dogs, just five behind Chestnut.
On the ladies’ side, Thomas remains in the record books; she downed 45 hot dogs in 2012.